Get Started with WinUAE

This article is not about programming but is a general quick-guide to set up the Amiga emulator with a harddisk directory containing all the OS and library files you need to use it for creative work.

Creating a Productivity Configuration

Start afresh from the Quickstart window that appears after installing WinUAE. Select a machine, either A500 or A1200. Leave all settings at default, but eject DF0 and DF1 and disable DF1. Uncheck Start in Quickstart mode and click Set Configuration, then Start.
WinUAE might now complain about a missing Kickstart and wrong DirectX version. You can ignore the latter and get Kickstart 3.1 for the Amiga model you chose. Do so, and when it boots to the purple Insert Disk screen, press F12, Configuration, name your configuration and click Save Configuration. The next time you start WinUAE, you can double-click the newly created configuration and continue tweaking options at any time. Under RAM, add 8MB of Fastmem, and in order to install Workbench quicker, under Floppy drives enable DF1-DF3 and set Floppy Drive Emulation Speed to Turbo.
Under CD & Hard drives, click Add Directory or Archive, then enter DH0, ROOT, and click Select Directory. This directory will now become your SYS: boot-up harddrive where you install everything.
Get Workbench 3.1 and mount the disk image named "Install" in DF0, then reset WinUAE and click the Install icon. (You should not "prep" or format DH0.) The installation process will tell you which disk images to mount in DF1-DF3.
Later, you can try out faster CPU configurations. If you want to keep the cycle-exact mode, you can bind a key to Warp Mode and press it when you need a boost. Under Input, select Configuration #1. Click Remap, and then the key you want to use. Select Warp Mode in the drop-down list that appears.


Many utilities need add-on libraries. My best advice is to get ClassicWB (Lite version) and let that install the necessary libraries for you. That will also let you extract .lha files easily for you, even though you can do even easier and faster with 7Zip in Windows.
Now, your WinUAE is ready to install any utilities you want. Try out Assemblers, paint programs, and music programs, and - have fun!

Workbench Add-ons and Non-native Graphics Modes

The setup you get is pretty nice and you can explore the wealth of options and bundled utilities by right-clicking. These add-ons are good to have for working conveniently in Workbench, but may cause glitches in new utilities that you try out.
If you find this is the case for a utility that you really like to use, you can boot into a shell instead of Workbench: Hold both mouse buttons when booting, select DH0, and click Boot without startup-sequence. You will have to navigate to the folder where you installed the utility - using the commands dir and cd <foldername>, and finally type the filename of the utility executable (usually a file without an extension or with the extension .exe).

Using WinUAE with an Amiga-formatted CF card

I recommend SanDisk or Lexar 2GB CF cards, partitioned into 2x 980 MB partitions. This will make the card work on all Amigas, Kickstarts (auto-booting down to Kickstart 1.3), and FastFileSystem versions.
The cards are PC-formatted, and before WinUAE can see them you have to clean them with Diskpart. I can do no better than to quote Thomas (from
If you are using Vista or Windows7, Windows will not write to the CF card if there are PC partitions mounted on it. Open a DOS prompt and enter diskpart. In DiskPart enter list disk. Identify the CF card and enter select disk n. Replace n by the number of the CF card. Enter list disk again and check that the right disk is marked with a '*'. Enter clean and then list disk once more. It should now show the entire capacity as empty. Leave DiskPart with exit. Remove the USB drive safely and plug it back in. If Windows asks you to format the empty CF, do *not* do it. Now try WinUAE again.

Partitioning programs such as HDToolbox or HDInsttools may still not see them in WinUAE, even if you provide the correct argument, i.e. "hdtoolbox uaehf.device". But they will be seen by a real Amiga, and can be partitioned there, after which you can use WinUAE to install ClassicWB Lite very quickly.
Note: do not format CF cards like a harddisk. Always format quick. Booting from a Workbench disk, the command that I use goes:
system/format drive DH0 name BOOT ffs noicons quick